The recent Vivienne Westwood’s collaboration to rebrand the English National Ballet made me think about successful women and “girl power”, so I started fantasising about what would be my dream collaboration…with my top four women of all time!
The idea is simply overwhelming but here it goes in no particular order, Vivienne Westwood, Frida Kahlo, Yayoi Kusama and Janis Joplin!
Let’s just imagine that Kahlo and Joplin were alive, and right now this extraordinary quartet are in the same room, would it work? would they even get along? At some point Westwood would share her strong political views and talk about human rights, which I believe all four of them would quite enjoy considering they are free spirit and open minded.
Kusama and Joplin seem to have a lot in common, although there are a few years difference between them they both experienced the sex revolution and movement in the 60’s and this clearly inspired both of their careers.
In my opinion Yayoi was the queen of psychedelic art and her obsession with polka dots is her trademark, she was part of the Pop Art movement, an influence for Warhol and also the only female artist in that scene at the time. She participated in protests against the Vietnam war, which often involved nudity so it wouldn’t be a surprise if Kusama and Janis had met during one of the protests, perhaps even at Woodstock, the festival that celebrated what was happening in history at the time and which defined the 60’s.
Yayoi Kusama in 1960
Janis performing one of my favourite songs, “Summertime” in Stockholm 1969
The voice of this woman doesn’t cease to amaze me, it’s incredibly powerful and the spirit of blues.
Janis Joplin at Woodstock in 1969.
Now, Westwood was clearly more interested in the 70’s Punk movement, a rebel at heart, daring and unconventional, she is from a completely different generation to Kahlo but they are both visionary, although Frida wasn’t a designer her distinctive look and style has had a impact on fashion, just as Westwood has, both are and have been an inspiration to many artists and designers worldwide.
Westwood is an intelligent and talented woman, famous for reinventing fashion by combining English traditional 17th and 18th century elements with punk, while Frida has become the universal modern symbol for female suffering, which is reflected on her self portraits, she is the only female painter whose work fetch as much as Picasso’s or Pollock’s, they are both global icons.
So what do they all have in common? they are/were strong, ballsy and talented with unconventional ideas, needed a way to express themselves and whether it was consciently or not they made a difference through their art. Decades have gone past and they continue to inspire us, in music, fashion, art, film, photography and even performance.
I can’t imagine what they would produce as a team but I know it’d be beyond expectations.They could be the fantastic four and I would quite happily live in a world ruled by these women, what a wonderful and magical place that would be!
Madame Westwood, a total visionary who changed Fashion forever.
“It wasn’t that I purposely wanted to rebel, I wanted to find out why it had to be done one way and not another”, Vivienne Westwood.
Vivienne Westwood Red Label SS13
Her bright and colourful outfits and adornments, such as the flowers and ribbons on her hair have had an impact on Fashion, she is a style icon and her image has become so powerful that she is much more than an art star.
The two Fridas 1939
Yayoi Kusama “Endless Love Show” 1966
I took this photo when I visited Kusama’s exhibition at the Tate Modern in 2012, it was a glimpse into her hallucinatory world, full of twinkling lights, dotty images and fabric-stuffed phallic objects.
Kusama in Dots Obsession-Night.
The Style Factory “My Room”, I’m so inspired by Kusama.